Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Little Known but Interesting Facts

  • A fresh watermelon, left to its own devices on the counter, may at some dark moment decide to explode.
  • Rather than watermelon shell carnage, said explosion may only reveal itself as a small hole in the side, suggesting more of a watermelon volcano.
  • The resultant body of fluid on the floor has the approximate volumetric content of a Great Lake, Superior maybe.
  • Two dogs with no diagnosed hearing deficiencies will not hear a watermelon volcano, will not be aware of the lake, until it is being mopped up. At that time, it will become the greatest treat since rawhide, and will require much wading and lapping.
  • Volcanic watermelon juice is sticky. Very sticky.
  • Dogs with long or curly hair should not wade through, or lap up, volcanic watermelon juice.

Between you and me, I think the tomatoes put him up to it. They look a little too smug in their bowl, and if any of you have seen Attack of the Killer Tomatoes... Well, it's not so far-fetched...



Monday, May 27, 2013

A bit of history...

I was lucky enough to see the Rolling Stones in Toronto last Saturday night, and while I was completely blown away by the show, I also learned a lot...

1. As my sons pointed out, seeing the Stones is on par with seeing the Beatles, except that there are more Stones still alive and they are still together, for all intents and purposes. Pure history.

2. Mick Jagger at 69 (70 in July) has more energy and enthusiasm than anyone I've ever seen, regardless of age. He moved and grooved for a solid two hours with only a couple of brief breaks.

3. Every Jagger dance move that has been recorded or parodied was there, live on stage, and it was SO much more exciting to watch in person! I never understood the attraction to Mick, until I saw him dance. I get it now.

4. Conversely, Keith Richards is one of the most laid-back performers I've ever seen, relaxed and just enjoying himself.

5. Every one of his misadventures is etched onto his face, and then he smiles. Keith Richards' smile is utterly transformative, lighting up the whole stage, and I found myself tearing my eyes away from Mick's moves to watch for another smile.

6. I may have a crush on Keith Richards.

7. Watching Keith and Ronnie Wood play with and off each other, clearly enjoying it still after all these years, was kind of warm and fuzzy.

8. Each member of the band is incredibly thin.

9. Mick Taylor, who performed on a couple of songs and who left the band in 1974, is not.

10. Being a Rolling Stone must therefore be an excellent means of weight control.

11. Charlie Watts seems very uncomfortable in the spotlight, front and centre, but does an amazing job of driving the band through the show when comfortably ensconced in his drum kit.

12. Yeah, I do have a crush on Keith Richards.

13. There were no gimmicks needed - they're THE STONES - so I'm not sure why Carrie Underwood was there, as I don't feel her presence added anything.

14. Two hours of standing and singing along with a steady stream of excellent, well-loved songs has left me with aching legs and a raw throat. I can only imagine the utter exhaustion of all of them, but particularly Mick Jagger, today.

Conclusions? Totally, totally worth the hype, the expense, the struggle through many thousands of other fans who were also there to glean a peek at history. The show had a sense of finality, and I suspect that the end of this tour may well be the end of their tours altogether. But now I, and my sons, can say we were there... we saw the Stones - the Rolling Stones! - we had great seats, we danced, we sang along, we had fun, and I got my first official tour T-shirt... What more could you ask for?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reflections on Customer Service...

I'm not sure when it happened, and I may have discussed this here before, but I wonder when superior customer service became something to be surprised about, rather than expected.  Maybe it's just me, but I find myself almost shocked to the point of real emotion when I am provided with service that (in the words of report cards) not only meets expectations but exceeds them

Case in point:  Signature Needles.

I am lucky enough to have a few precious sets of these gorgeous tools of our trade, and I find that they add exponentially to my pleasure of knitting.  My double points were a gift from my mother, and I subsequently treated myself to a couple of circular needles.  They are divine.  It's like the golfer who says that better clubs make for a better game - these needles really do elevate my hand knitting experience.

Some of you astute folks (yes, Anne, I'm looking at you) may recall that a year or so ago I started an Elizabeth Zimmermann Aran sweater from The Knitter's Almanac (and no, I didn't make everything in the book - that could be another post, though), using the wonderfully sheepy Bartlettyarns Fisherman's Wool, and my Signature circulars.  Perfect combination of needle and yarn, just perfect.  I took my time with this project, largely because it was such a pleasurable experience and I wanted to prolong it.

As I neared the end of my sweater, I noticed that the yarn would snag on one of the joins between cable and needle, but I couldn't see anything so I kept on.

Then I found this:
I felt just sick when I saw it - no idea what I did to actually tear the join - I'm not a tight knitter, I wasn't gnawing on it in frustration, it just didn't make sense.   And I hadn't budgeted for another one.

So, I contacted the folks at Signature Needles, who asked for a picture of the damage.  I sent them what you see here.  Within 10 days, this came in the mail:

Shiny, pretty, new circular needles, for which I paid not a cent in postage or anything.

I thanked my contact at Signature Needles, but I wanted to gush and go on and on.  Why?  Because I'm no longer used to this level of service.

Before anyone says so, I realize I sound like an old fart, and that's fine.  There's a strong possibility I may be on my way to that.  But really, how does excellent customer service affect you?  Is it just another day, or does it make your day?

It sure made mine...

As an aside, I am off tomorrow for my annual Thanksgiving yarn/latte trek through the Twin Cities and beyond with Kelly, who doesn't have a blog but absolutely should.  I will be trying to blog with my iPad, and should even be able to post pictures...

see you state-side!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My name is Maggie

and I am a carboholic...

I know I look innocent, but behind this facade of cute warm and fuzziness lies a dark, sneaky side.

You will note that, despite my darker nature, I know which end of the bag I'm supposed to hold.

The thing is, these people keep leaving stuff out for me.  Or they forget to put me in my room when they go out, and the stuff is right there.  It's not like I can help myself - I'm an ADDICT, people, I have no control.

I know I'm going to get into trouble, and Lord knows, it's not helping my middle-aged spread.

But I can't help it, truly.  If I could figure out what to do with the carnage, I'd be set.
Notice that the healthiest option, the brown rice cakes, are unscathed.

I do pride myself on being methodical and relatively neat.  And I'm not sure why they get mad at me when it happens, because, really, whose fault is it??

So, please, help me.  Understand my problem.  Love me in spite of it.  You know you want to.

This message brought to you by Carboholics Anonymous - eating our way through life one loaf at a time...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Is it just me...

or is the reason for her fabulous 12 week transformation not fairly obvious??

Not sure if it should be an ad for a personal trainer (which it is), or an OB-GYN...

(and yes, that's two today, to make up for the less-than-one of yesterday)

The age-old question...

does this make me look fat?

And do NOT tell me "It's fine" or I'll smack you.

Back story:  I made this sweater, Hathersage, last February.  Loved the yarn, loved the look of the pattern but hated the finished product on me.  I felt like a cozy, wool-wrapped blimp, and so never wore it.  Oh, I tried it on periodically, hopefully,  but never felt the love.  So, I had plans to frog it and use the yarn for  the Campus Jacket.

I finally brought it downstairs to rip out yesterday, but on a whim threw it on and went grocery shopping, giving it one last chance to impress me, a last-minute stay of execution.  I still felt fat, and the boys thought it looked too boxy, but it was suggested that if I moved the buttons again (they're not even sewn on, they're attached with safety pins because I just couldn't get it right) it might actually be okay.
I am still giving serious thought to the Campus Jacket as I love it but will certainly NOT be buying yarn for it, but I guess needed to bounce this out there, give myself a visual to think about and maybe seek opinions.  I am on a big sweater-ripping binge right now, currently frogging my February Lady sweater - it's like free yarn! - so I have no qualms about that.


off topic, but still about the photo - look to the right mid-frame... that back room... a fluffy lump.  Can't see it?
How about now?

That's Maggie, on "her" couch - she adopted it when she was a puppy, and now, 10 years later, it's the saddest piece of furniture I've ever seen.  And yet, she loves it as it is - I've tried blankets and slipcovers just so I can stand it, but they are promptly ripped off and have even been shredded on occasion... the boys and I have agreed that we have to keep it for as long as she's here.   Lucky dog.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's only Tuesday...

And I'm having a glass of wine...

Somehow I feel a little guilty about it, but I think that just adds depth to the taste...

I can rationalize anything

Monday, November 14, 2011

End of an Era...

No exaggeration... today construction, or rather, demolition, starts in the rec room at my parents' home.  Panelling will be ripped out, carpet torn up, old bathrooms dismantled, and this piece of family history will exist only in pictures and minds:
The bar.

Built by my uncle Fergus in 1967, it has been a real cornerstone in our family, and, like the rec room itself, is something I identify completely with Dad.

He was always either sitting in front of the bar in 'his' corner chair, or standing behind it (I can't find any photos right now but I know there are tons).  Family events always had Dad holding court there, often surrounded by grandchildren and doing goofy things.  The happy face mugs?  Classic... been there the whole time.  Countless hors d'oeuvres, drinks and cakes were served from there, and when kids got a little too rowdy, it was a safe haven for some of us to observe from.

Selecting (and emptying) the bottles is something I have some memory of my parents enjoying, and I think the selection accurately reflects their taste back then - Mateus, Casal Mendes, sweet, hurts-your-teeth-to-think-of-it stuff - and the bottles... oh, the bottles...

We all had our favourites, these are mine
 In all honesty, I'm sure some of the paint worn off the monkey was from me patting it over the years.

Harder to see it go than I would have thought.

The fireplace opposite the bar, also built by my uncle, is staying but will be painted
Again, no pictures handy, but this, with the packed bookshelves that used to be over it, was the backdrop for countless configurations of family portraits.

Yesterday Mom and I finished dismantling one other key piece of our family's history, the blue faux leather couch (seen in pic of Dad making a face at the camera).  It's been the site of so many things - TV dinners, I recovered from wisdom teeth surgery there, my brother Mike used to get up at noon as a teenager so he could lie on the couch, swathed in blankets, and spend his afternoons watching Scooby-Doo.  And in more recent years it was the go-to site for the traditional Christmas Eve pictures of grandchildren.

My mom had bought it as a used couch and recovered it herself, and being very thorough, used maybe a vigintillion nails, as confirmed by the vigintillion holes in my hands today.  The frame was gorgeous, solid hardwood of some sort - you'd never find that in furniture today - which was good because it held up through the decades of use we threw at it.

Mom seems excited about the prosper of changing it all, but she has always, to my mind, been happiest with a home decoration or renovation project on the go, and this is a big one.

So, truly, a huge part of our family's past - changing, modernizing, and hopefully getting ready for some new history to be made.